Bottlerock 2017

Last year, when Bottlerock lineup came out I bought 4 tickets.  Gloria and SLineup2017ex God were absolutely in and my friend Ali was also…at the time I bought the tickets.  Ironically she couldn’t afford it when the tickets came, but we tooIMG_3653k her anyway because it was VERY difficult to try and sell tickets to a relatively new festival.  Even with such a great lineup!

Knowing Napa was a 6 hour drive we got up at 4ish, piled into my car with our stuff and hit the road!  I managed the drive pretty well with only a few stops for food & bathroom breaks, but by hour #4.5 I was BEAT!  I had Sex God take over the last part of the road & slept while Glo and Ali dealt with the car sickness that happens when Sex God drives!  He will deny it but he drives every car like its a Go-cart.  The hotel was farther than last year by quite a bit, but that’s all I could get last minute.  My bad.  We threw our stuff in the room, freshened a bit and headed to the festival.  And had a hilarious drive through Napa’s back country roads blasting old school rap off the radio!

Day One was introducing Ali to all the grounds, food, events, stages.  It was fun. :)  We didn’t really have anyone we were desperate to see until Saint Motel at 3:15 so we took our time.  Because right after Saint Motel we were SUPER excited to see Fitz and ThIMG_3646e Tantrums!  Two bands I love, back to back!  It was GREAT!  After that we split up and Sex God & Ali went to Macklemore and then Maroon 5 while Gloria and I went and saw Silversun Pickups & Modest Mouse. (which I regret now!)  By the end of the night, all four of us were very “relaxed” but me the least so I drove.  And what a horror THAT was!  The back roads at night felt like I driving Topanga Canyon with no street lights!  I knew beyond the unlit 2 lane highway was only vine fields but without my brights on it felt like a cliff edge!  Having to turn off my brights for oncoming traffic and the pressure to go fast from the MANY cars behind me it was an intense, white-knuckle drive!  I was soooooo happy to finally get there with my snoring companions!

Day Two started with a nice breakfast at the hotel and since it was a Saturday, the GPS had a go a different route.  We managed to get there in time to see Judah & the Lion (very nice), Andra Day (who was amazing!!).  We then popped over to the lovely shade of a covered stage to see Mavis Staples who was playing just before Bishop Briggs.  Sadly when she played long we realized the rumor of Bishop Briggs too sick to play was true…sigh.  So we popped over to hear some Ani DiFranco (a bit boring, but relaxing and kind of stayed there while Sex God went to see Tom Petty.  Sadly none of us were that interested to join him!   Once back at the hotel we quickly did a planning for day three on the fly lol  This is what happens when I’m too busy to do ALL the work, lol.

On Day Three we tried a new different breakfast spot, that was local.  It was fun, and the looks we got  in our exuberant conversation was even more fun! hahaha   WIMG_3659e got there in time to see Cobi (more commercialized hottie than real talent.)  After that we kind of stayed at that main stage to wait for LIVE, which was WONDERFUL to see!!  Sex God popped over to see a bit of The Strumbellas but came back soon after, VERY sun stroked.  I kept a cold rag on his face and head while plying him with water and Motrin.   He slept through Band of Horses, and while we WANTED to see The Naked and Famous we couldn’t dare leave our good spot because up and coming was Foo Fighters!!  And wow…. they were amazing!  Gloria and Sex God and seen them before but it was a first time for Ali and I.  And, I must say, if you’ve never seen Foo Fighters, definitely take the opportunity to see them.  Worth it, completely.

Last year Glo drove me & her all the way home Sunday night because I had to work.  THIS year we all made sure we got the day off and leisurely drove the 6 hours home.  Or I should say “I” drove us home.  When Sex God offered, but Ali and Glo said, “No!”

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It’s 2018!!!

We all have high hopes, dreams, ideas which time, reality and life seem to overshadow.  For example, I had hoped to get the ideas written and posted in January, dreaming I would manage to finish a blog once per month.  But life…. or rather the desire NOT to life intervened and I procrastinated until March.  IMG_4084

It was a difficult year in 2017 watching our government, those in charge of protecting the general “us”, act crazy and betray all precepts of protection for the sake of greed.  But I found a way to do something more than bitch.  Normally, the thing they tell you is to get ACTIVE in politics.  But I’m in Southern California in a very Blue area of the state, so I wasn’t sure what I could do.  Until I signed up for email notices from SwingLeft.org.  This group lists the closest swing seat near you which can be very valuable information if you want to get more active in politics.

I realized the power of the grass roots organizations could work to my advantage.  Everyone talks about voting OUT all possible Republicans this year, but unless you’re actively able to join every campaign that can seem like nothing more than talk.  But there is a way to help…. with money.  The GOP has proven THAT is how you rule in politics and the Sander’s campaign taught us how to use the internet to that advantage.

Basically what I’m saying is every person should decide to donate $10-$20 a month to change politics.  It’s rather easy…you donate $1 a month to 10 or 20 like minded campaigns around the country.  If EVERY person who wanted change did this we could remove the BIG $ influence OUT of politics and perhaps get politicians less dependent on corporations. You might find the website Ballotpedia.org very informative!

So in the interest of this, I got a few names for you.  (I’m just gonna list sames & what they’re running for…look them up, they’re worth supporting)  Paulette Jordan-Idaho governor, Tammy Baldwin-WI Senate, Jay Hulings-TX Congress, Marie Newman-IL congress, Jess King-PA congress, Dan Canon-Indiana Congress, Chelsea Manning-MD senate, Lupe Valdez-TX governor, Conor Lamb-PA congress, Elissa Slotkin-MI congress, Kendra Ferishee-WV congress, Jess Phoenix-CA congress, Zach Walls-IA senate, Pete D’Alessandro-IA congress, Mallory Hagan-AL congress, Cort VanOstran-MO congress, Ben Jealous-MD governor, Chuy Garcia-IL congress, Brendan Kelly-IL congress, Tina Smith-MN-senate, Lindsey Davis Stover-VA congress, Beto O’Rourke-TX senate, .   There are of course, MANY MORE, and research is a pain in the ass….but so are Republicans!  lol

Oh and there are other grass roots ways to support.  Buy a shirt or two from Wildfang or support their Indiegogo campaign to save the last abortion clinic in South Dakota.  Shaun King has started a Real Justice PAC to try to help areas vote OUT discriminatory policing, he’s got boots on the ground support.  Keith Ellison is trying to keep the Progressive Movement going even as Tom Perez the DNC chair is purging Sanders supporters from the DNC. grrrrrrr…

What I’m going to do is send money to a few in my state, then to some southern states cuz they need to CHANGE!!!

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21 Pilots…. something different… a KROQ Win!

I have won many radio concert contests from 98.7 AltRock station.  Although since they changed their contest format, not so much now.  But I did wIMG_0640in through KROQ once!  And I will say in comparing the two I’d prefer the 98.7 win.   In summer 2015 I got free tix to see 21 Pilots at the KROQ Red Bull soundstage.  Sex God was hugely excited as this was his #1 band at that time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them too, just not to that level of fanaticism.

Anyway we get to the venue and realize everyone is waiting in this long line to get in.  We didn’t think we were that early but joined the queue thinking it would move soon.  We were there for almost 30 minutes!  Shocking!  98.7 lets you into the venue and mill about getting drinks, etc, but their venue is a Penthouse off site of the studio.  Anyway, they check tickets and I.D.’s handing out wristbands for drinking while we all wait.  Then finally, the line begins to move!  And as cattle we herd into a small room with a roped off section for 21 Pilots to play.  That section isn’t raised and since we weren’t the first 20 people there I technically didn’t get to SEE 21 Pilots play!  Curse my shortness!

There was free RedBull and you could buy drinks but we opted out since it was noon! lol   Hearing them was marvelous and Sex God was able to see over most heads to the performance.  I was able to watch a smidgen of it through the camera of the guy in front of me filming off his phone!  Ha!   Again, my heel spurs really made my feet pain to just stand there, so once the band finished we didn’t mill about but left the venue.

It was fun, but I won’t be entering any more of THOSE contests…  well, not unless I plan on getting there early and waiting an hour outside!

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BottleRock 2015!

It is now 2017 and this post is loooong overdue.  And since I just finished Bottlerock 2017 AND Coachella 2017, I better catch up on these music festival posts.  So let’s flash back to 2015….  Near the beginning of that year, I heard about the BottleRock festival and I note…  wow, nice lineup!  Then the Coachella lineup comes out shortly after that and I’m thinking, “Crap…  this lineup sucks!  I’d rather go to that BottleRock one!”

After many days of thought and discussion with Sex God we come to the decision we would sell the Coachella tix & condo space and go to BottleRock instead.   Our logic….the tickets to this Napa festival, in only its third year, were almost half the price of Coachella!  And with a lineup of Imagine Dragons and No Doubt we were itching to go!  So we bought tickets.

We decided to try the renting of an RV instead of a hotel room to see if that cut costs.  (costs ended up about the same)  So at the crack of dawn we drove up north and rented an rv that slept 6 which we then drove to Vallejo where the nearest campground was.  And boy was THAT an adventure! lol  Surprise tolls, worry that the rv wouldn’t fit through spaces, following him in HIS car, getting to the campsite and not seeing ANYONE who runs it to check in, hooking things up, finally getting on the road to the venue, sorting out parking there and the rush of “are we late!” all of it made getting our wristbands and into the place a big huge sigh of relief!  Although to be honest, I’m like that at EVERY festival!

This was our first at the festival so we went to EVERY booth on the first day and tried almost every level of food we could in the 3 days.  Being in Napa there are A LOT of wine booths, bu036t since I’m allergic to wine & don’t like beer I stuck to the only booth that sold mixed drinks…exceedingly overpriced mixed drinks!   Day One had lot of bands on 4 stages and for most of the day we drifted from one to the other as these were many bands we didn’t know.  Honestly we stayed mostly at the Minor stage because it was shaded!  The Bottlerock venue has tons of trees to battle the minor heat (nothing after a Coachella lol) but their grass sucked!  it was mostly long pettled weeds!  But we were truly there to see Imagine Dragons and boy they did NOT disappoint!  Not even as we went deep into the crowd where I usually can’t see!  It was a wonderful Day One!

Day Two had unique challenges even though there were more bands we loved.  Assuming that the northern climes of Napa wouldn’t need me to apply sunscreen proved quite wrong and so I got very sunburned on the face.  Luckily we parked in a mall with a Target where I purchased a wide brimmed hat, which THAT day’s weather tried to blow OFF all day! But the seeing of Knox Hamilton was really fun because we chose them due to them playing at the Minor tent and we wanted to sit and eat our delicious salad and sandwich and as we’re completely enjoying their music050, they play their last song with is a hit that 98.7 had been playing.  Those, “Wait!  I know this song!  I love this song!” moments that make going to music festivals so perfect!   I think we skipped Young the Giant and enjoyed Capital Cities and Portugal the Man.  I took a few pictures of Robert Plant for my son but then bailed as he was NO LONGER my era! lol

By Day Three we were old hands at the entire festival.  I learned to buy one overly strong mixed drink and a soda and split it into something I could enjoy for longer than the time the ice melted!  Snoop Dog and American Authors were wonderful.  Brant was determined to get up front for Gwen during No Doubt but I was over the crowds by then.  Having heel spurs was really crimping my ability to stand in a crowd!  So I enjoyed Awolnation for a bit and watched some No Doubt near the sidelines.

Over all we had a lot of fun, obviously, since we’ve gone again twice!   The RV park were we stayed had an RV show that weekend so we actually spent a bit of time Saturday looking at all the fancy models and speculating if owning one was in our future.   Or in my mother’s future as she kinda wishes she could tour the US in one.

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Baby Advisor

In 2016 I was a local Target’s Baby Advisor.  It was truly the happiest job I’ve ever had,  I just adored it.  Sadly it was a pilot program that they chose not to keep.  But for a year I got to keep a department stocked and neat all the while helping parents find what they need… 40 hours a week.  But my favorite part of the job was helping a new parent register for their shower.

Of course, to do this properly I was smart enough to drag my mother in to help me in the world of babies.  A world I’d passed out of 13 years ago, now that my sons were teens!  And since she is one of the world authorities on babies and breastfeeding for 40 years, now teaching the next doctor generation as USC, my mother gave me lots of great advice to pass on to parents.   Today, I’m working a different position and cannot give this advice out any longer.  So I thought I’d do a blog post.  After all, I have several co-worker’s who are expecting!!    Ah, but where to start.  I know….. let’s start with chemicals!

Stay away from Lavender!!!  Tons of baby products now contain lavender as a “way to make a baby sleep” but a newborn’s skin is so thin it is practically porous and it has recently be determined that lavender, when absorbed into baby’s skin, is an endocrine disruptor.  So that product will go and mess with the baby’s hormones.  Oh, and the way lavender “calms”…it slows a heart rate.  NOT a good thing for a newborn.  Save it for when baby is much older.

And on that ‘newborn baby’s thin skin’ note… you do NOT need to put diaper cream on baby as a “preventative”…that is a petroleum product baby’s absorbing into his system.  You do NEED 1 tube of diaper cream but it must be 40% zinc oxide.  Anything less and it won’t be strong enough to be an effective barrier to protect baby’s skin.  So IF baby gets a rash, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water (baby wipes won’t be enough) and coat the area with 40% zinc oxide…every diaper change… until baby’s skin heals itself.  And any wash you use should have as few ingredients as possible.  And you don’t need lotion.  If baby’s skin is a little flaky that is normal skin shedding, don’t put a product on that baby’s body will absorb.

Most people wanted my opinion on brands… and the most I could give them was what other people told me because these brands didn’t exist when my kids were babies.  TONS of parents loved the wipes of 7th Generation, but not so much the diapers.  What I advised was to get a small packet of ALL the brands because they weren’t going to know which diaper or wipe would work best on baby’s skin or bum until baby was out.  Register for it all in small packets to try and large packets to either use or bring back for credit to buy what DID work.  PAD that registry because you’re going to need LOTS of diapers & you might as well let your friends buy them.

Let’s talk car seats and strollers.  These are completely a personal preference.  But in making your choices, know a few facts.  A car seat carrier can seem convenient but baby will grow out of it by around 12 months.  As soon as their head gets to within 1 inch of the top they are too big for it and you’ll need a full car seat.  Also realize that ALL car seats meet federal standards so your choice may be based on how wide it is, what does the material feel like, how many car seat stages does it do (there are 4), does it recline and… iconic to this day age…how many cup holders does it have.   And when choosing a stroller, go try it out if you can.  These days they’re much more versatile than they used to be.  Just a note on jogger strollers.  Guys love these because they look big and cool.. but ask yourself, will I REALLY be jogging WITH my baby….because those joggers are heavy!  And unless you’re ONLY using it when you jog, they are impractical for every day use.

DO make sure you also get the wearable baby carriers.  Because on Mom or Dad is the true natural habitat for baby.  You’ve seen those babies wearing the helmets?  That’s because baby spent too much time lying on his head in a carrier, crib or bouncy and the back of his head grew flat.  So now he has to wear a helmet to fix it.  DON’T be that parent!  Get a wearable carrier, any carrier, and prevent this.  And know that all babies have reflux and while some babies aren’t bothered by this, others cannot handle it at all; and being upright is their happiest position.  Studies have shown being on a parent naturally calms baby.  www.kangaroomothercare.com  Plus it leaves hands free to push a cart shopping!

There is a myth you should know about…the myth that swaddling baby is good for baby.  It is not.  There have been actual deaths attributed to swaddling a baby.   This information is straight from USC.  For the first 2 weeks of a baby’s life they are nocturnal, yet they still have to eat 7-8 times in a 24 hour period.  Guess when that is going to happen?  Yes at night.  Factor in, part of a baby’s natural waking process is movement, specifically movement of arms, and you get a situation where a swaddled baby goes into baby snooze because he cannot move, misses a feeding and wakes too hungry to sort out breastfeeding.  And some babies will move their body so much they will roll and if he doesn’t have free arms he can smother…(those were the deaths).   Swaddling was popularized by nursery nurses to create easy to move baby bundles.   But “baby snooze” is detrimental to a newborn trying to learn breastfeeding and his new environment.   There are wonderful baby Sleep Sacks that allow freedom of movement and warmth for baby in a crib.  Just don’t swaddle their arms!!

While we are on the topic of sleep, I would encourage you to have baby sleep as near you as possible.  This lets you get as much sleep as you can during those 2 weeks nocturnal adjustment.  The phrase “sleep when baby sleeps” works better if baby is near your bed!  Some travel bassinets are wonderful to literally put in your bed!  Summer sells one for only $20.  And some fancy cribs can be shoved next to your bed in daybed mode and be a great co-sleeper.  If you have the space.  Remember… all these tactics are there to help you get sleep while still answering baby’s needs to eat and be near you.

Bouncers, walkers, playtime mats, toys; what is good for baby?   The answer is all of it and none of it.  lol…. really!  Generations did without these gadgets with no harm.  Bouncers’ entertain baby but don’t let baby develop his neck muscles for movement.  Are walker’s better for baby than encouraging him to crawl and cruise the furniture when he’s ready?  People often think baby’s are bored when they cry out in frustration but perhaps that’s because they are mentally ready to move up in development and NEED that boredom to drive them to pursue movement.  That’s where play mats and toys help.  And yes, you’re baby doesn’t LIKE being on his tummy in the beginning when his neck muscles are underdeveloped… but how else is he going to develop them.   So lots of short repeated bursts of mat time on his front is the solution.  And if his tummy is full he won’t want to be on it either, so put a little rolled up towel under his chest when his head gets stronger.  And play with your baby. :)

Now, let’s talk formula.  Truthfully almost all formula is cow milk based.  And what they DON’T tell you is all formula also causes micro-bleeds in baby’s intestinal tract which is WHY formula has added iron!  Without it all formula fed babies would get anemic.  The “gentle” formula and “sensitive” formula is mostly marketing hype.  And it might seem to work, but there is NO scientific study that proves it.  Yes, I’m pretty anti-formula and yes I understand there are some who must have it.  But there is a lot of information that new parents DON’T get about formula before they give it that they would be shocked to know.  For instance, cow’s milk attacks the pancreas and the rise in diabetes can be directly tracked to the rise of formula.  Plus, Dr. Nils Bergman did a study on the link between formula and obesity.  (formula is slow to digest and unnaturally stretches the stomach of a newborn…every feed, 8 times a day, for a year…yes… that will have an impact).   There was also a link between formula and allergies when they realized a newborn’s stomach lining in the first week isn’t fully sealed at birth with micro-holes that formula proteins can slide through into the body triggering early onset allergies.   And let’s face it, formula is bloody expensive!!!

Whew!   O.K…. let’s talk Breastfeeding.  Just a few tips.  First off, Mom….breastfeeding is NOT your success or failure…. it is BABY’S!  Yes, breastfeeding is completely driven by baby in a supply and demand system.  It is incomprehensibly rare for a mother NOT to be able to produce milk if her baby has a good suck and nursing 8-12 times a day with all the required wet diapers.   (Note: all newborn diapers are poop diapers…Day 1 = 1 poop diaper, Day 2 = 2 poop diapers, up to Day 7 where you’ll average 7-8 a day.)  So if it seems you’re having trouble with breastfeeding it is almost always a problem with baby… not with you!  Tongue and lip tie is the MOST common problem, but sometimes baby is neurologically underdeveloped to handle the complex motions of suckling and swallowing.  (bottles take no effort which is why getting a bottle makes going to breastfeeding difficult.)   The last stage of womb development is neurological and if baby comes out early they are often still developing this and we are needing them to breastfeed.  (But remember we are trying to avoid formula for the first week to avoid allergies so conundrum!)

But there are some techniques I learned from the Queen…(me mum)  First off: don’t use Boppy’s or pillow or sit up in chairs…recline like an empress at a 45 degree angle, put baby on top of your chest (skin to skin preferably) with baby half awake and let him move himself down to your breast to self attach.  This works his neurological development with movement and he will get on the breast in the position that works for him and do it right!   Half the breastfeeding struggles is baby isn’t on correctly or we start with a crying frustrated baby who can’t coordinate their tongue and end up doing more gnawing than suckling.  There are films on this Self Attachment method all over the internet… go watch one.   Second off:  there are cultures who isolate baby and mom for the first month.  USE THIS!  People want to see baby?…Skype.  People want to help you?…. tell them to bring food, do the laundry, clean your house… but YOU and the baby need every moment of those first 3o days to set up proper breastfeeding.  BE the Queen you were while pregnant during that time.  You have the most important job…feeding baby.   Three:  Trust your instinct as a mother.  Find a Lactation Consultant or a Doula or someone with CURRENT experience to answer all those questions you will have, because you are going to have tons of questions!

To recap… the things you MUST have are pretty simple.  Car seat, variety of newborn diaper packages & wipes, hooded towel, baby washcloths, some type of bathtub, 40% zinc oxide diaper cream, mild wash, bassinet or crib or co-sleeper (or like me with my 3rd a 6″ deep foam piece on the floor beside my bed lol), wearable baby-carrier, a detergent with no dies or perfumes (Tide Free N Clear is fine and wash EVERYONE’S clothes in it as baby will go on people), onesies, a Sleep Sack, changing pad.   Everything else might be extras for a later purchase once you get to know about this amazingly new job called parenting.

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KROQ Weenie Roast 2015

In 2014, Sex God and I went to our first Weenie Roast.  We enjoyed it pretty well, but the early bands we REALLY wanted to see were on 2 stages next to each other and short little me couldn’t see ANYTHING.  I missed seeing The Kongos who I really wanted to see and The 1975 and barely saw American Authors!    Then most of the evening artists were a bit older and boring and the seats weren’t comfortable and the food and drinks outrageous.

So…the next year we thought we’d try something different.  We hooked up my computer to my television and watched it live from the comfort of my living room.  And it was almost the best concert experience I’d had!  I could sit when I wanted to and my view wasn’t obscured.  I could dance and use LOTS of space!  There was NO line for the bathroom!  And Sex God and his friend Guy could go for In N Out when they got hungry lol.

Unless the bands truly warrant it, THIS is how we’ll be attending future Weenie Roasts!

 

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The Big Short

I just finished watching the movie The Big Short and all I can say is wow.  And crap.  And we’re fucked.   This movie is about the housing crisis and how it led to the banking crisis and destroyed the US economy which trickled down to the world economy.

In most of these types of things it’s a look back…had we known, disaster could have been averted kind of movie.  But in this movie its about the ones who saw the disaster and since no one would listen to them about it, they found a way to profit from it.  Actually, they found the way to profit and everyone laughed at them when they went for it.  Because they were basically betting that the US economy would tank.    And they were right.

It’s a great movie.   But,  it’s also crazy fucking scary.  Because it completely points out HOW banking got fucked, got greedy, and lost all ethics.   Worse… is seeing how badly everyone covered their own ass, kept the system as the same as possible, lied, bribed & sold their concern for anyone other than themselves to the highest payer.   And what did WE do?  WE did whatever they fed us was the “right” thing to do.  WE let them all get away with it.

Seven years later … we have the ultimate representation of Greed as our President.  And I watch him as he signs away in Executive Order after Executive Order ALL our protections from this shit.  Because Greed is tired of the restrictions.  But those restrictions kept Greed from putting $$ over our health, over the welfare of kids, over our rights.  Yet the Republican goobers think it will get them jobs and put THEM in the middle class.  How shocked will they be when more and more of their neighborhoods become Flint, Michigan.  When their food prices go up with the wall war with Mexico.  When the country goes to war and begins to kill their sons and grandsons because Greed likes making money off war.

Thank God I’m in California where we can legislate our rights back and prove to be a beacon of sanity for the rest of the country.

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